Captain Slow Charging
- Nov 26, 2007
- Atomic toaster
I made it til March before buying a car in 2021.
As you probably remember, I’ve had a few Mazdas in my time, and there’s just something about ‘90s Mazdas that really appeals to me. It’s the feel they have, the simplicity combined with mechanical stoutness yet with a dose of character that not every Japanese brand manages to show in their products. Of course the early ‘90s Mazdas are far funkier than late ‘90s ones, as the company really suffered after the economic bubble burst. But that’s another story, really.
But still, speaking of the late ‘90s, everyone here probably remembers what an impact Gran Turismo had when it was released. It seemed like the one thing that united every kid with access to a PlayStation, and when we got the game and the console as a Christmas present, it felt like digital heaven. Remember, we barely had Internet then and suddenly there was a game that combined car ads with racing and Japanese tuning. Huge deal.
The game started with a pretty basic Mazda Demio that showed you the ropes. Launching the car off the line and coming to a stop in a defined area. Later on, Sunday Cup racing with other econoboxes, earning enough credits so you could move on from the Demio to Supras, RX-7s, 180SXs, Skylines and so on – but with the Demio playing the role of the First Car You Got to Drive. They also didn't need many pixels to render it.
Every now and then, I’ve checked ads for a Demio that would not be made of structural rust by now, not in a boring colour, not driven to the ground as a delivery vehicle, and obviously not expensive. Cars have come and gone, but I haven’t yet found a Demio that really felt like worth it to go and see it. Now, after all these years I managed to convince myself that this one could be justified to work as a runaround of the house, for grocery runs and the occasional roadtrip for the heck of it. We just have to have a Fiat Panda sort of car, a very narrow thing that looks like a box where you can put boxes inside, and one that always starts and gets you to work when the rest of the fleet forms and deforms around it.
So, the specs:
- 1998 Demio 1.3 LX
- 63 hp 16-valve SOHC (weirdly over 10hp down from my 323 1.3)
- 215tkm with service history
- Been with the same elderly owners for nearly two decades, now sold on and flipped to me
- Valid inspection til November 2021
- Central locking, power steering, ‘90s JVC stereo, three cup holders
- Rear seat that slides back and forth and folds up to clear loadspace
- SOME rust but far better than some of the shit I’ve bought
- Absolutely fantastic ‘90s metallic green (apparently 11R Sparkle Green Mica)
My plans? Putting some Miata wheels on it, fixing the missing fog light grilles, making sure the car doesn’t rot out on me. That’s it, the rest is fine as is. Since I’m largely working from home In These Current Times I’m considering declaring the diesel Volvo SORN until summer and doing the few office runs I have to do in this, if it’s not too flimsy for the open road. I’ve already done 100km in it, during which I made note of how it reacts in strong side winds (it is prone to them) and just how good it feels to drive a basic 1990s Mazda box (it is a very good way of living).